The measure was explained by the general director of Continental Advanced Antenna, Miguel Pinto, who stated that the change in working hours, with a stop on Fridays, "is transitory", and was a solution that “adjusted to the demands of the moment” and that he believes “in the speedy return to normality”.

Continental's Vila Real unit is one of the world's leading specialists and manufacturers of vehicle antennas and almost all of its production is exported.

With over 500 employees it is one of the largest private employers in the district of Vila Real.

The official said that the interruptions caused by the crisis imposed by Covid-19 had provoked an “extreme volatility in the entire automobile industry”.

He explained that, during the pandemic, there was an increase in the demand for personal equipment (laptops, ipads, smartphones) for which chips and semiconductors are needed, which has led to a worldwide shortage of these components.

There are also difficulties in transporting materials from the Asian continent, where many of the factories are located. As a result, some factories are building fewer cars because they have no components, which affects the entire supply chain, notably Continental Advanced Antenna.

Miguel Pinto said that the Vila Real company “is aware that this is an impactful situation for the sector, but of a transitory nature”, therefore, it maintains “the focus on identifying solutions adjusted to the demands of the moment”.

“We thought that the best solution to safeguard our employees was for each of us to work only four days a week, giving up a day of vacation. This is what we were doing during September and it may need to be done for a while longer. Our expectation is that it will be as brief as possible, but it is a way of safeguarding all employees, all our colleagues and, at the same time, being able to deal with this situation, which is transitory”, stressed the general director.

Founded in 1871, the Continental group offers solutions for vehicles, machinery, traffic and transport and, in 2020, generated sales of €37.7 billion and currently employs around 193,000 people in 58 countries and markets.